Here you are! It’s embarkation day. Here how goes a typical embarkation day and some tips for successful boarding.
Transfer to cruise ship for embarkation
If you have booked your flight through the cruise line, you will probably also have booked the transfer to the port. Representatives of the cruise line will be waiting at the airport with signs and provide the instruction on where to find the buses.
Otherwise, it is best to evaluate the transfer options to the ship before departure. Taxis, trains, or bus services are probably available. Depending on the number of people in your group, the least expensive option may vary. A taxi may be more economical for groups of four, while the transfer offered by the cruise line or an independent airline may be more economical for a couple or a single person. To avoid taking risks, don’t forget to carry all your medicines and valuables with you in your carry-on luggage.
Arrival at the port
When you arrive at the port, the first thing you will do is drop off your luggage at the dock. Make sure your luggage is properly identified with the labels provided by the cruise line and with your cabin number. Porters will pick up your luggage and transfer it to the ship. A tip is appreciated by porters. One dollar per suitcase should be enough.
Afterwards, you will continue on your way into the cruise terminal for check-in. Usually, check-in starts between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. You will find this information on the cruise ticket. The first few hours are the busiest and sometimes numbered ticket systems are used to check in travellers one group at a time. You will have to wait in the waiting room. If you are a frequent traveller with the cruise line or have booked a suite, you can benefit from a priority check-in service and cut the queue. At check-in, you will be asked to fill out a health card where you will need to report if you have stomack flu, flu or fever. You will be asked to provide the cruise ticket and your passport. they will also take your credit card informations for your expenses on board the ship. You will be given your magnetic card which will be used to board and disembark the ship, to open the door of your cabin and will be your credit card for your expenses on board. A map of the ship should be given to you at that time.
Following the check-in, you will have to pass security. As at the airport, your carry-on baggage will go through X-rays and you will go through a metal detector. Your other luggage will also go through X-rays when they are loaded onto the ship.
Exploring the ship
You’re finally on the ship. Your cabin may already be ready. Sometimes you will have to wait a specific time before taking possession of your cabin. Take the opportunity to explore the ship and the services offered. You can also bring your swimsuit in your carry-on bag to enjoy the pool while waiting for your cabin to be ready. The buffet will be open and, weather permitting, a BBQ will probably be offered around the pool. Activities and entertainment (games, music) will also mark the departure of the ship. If you have planned a fixed-hour dinner and have special requests, it’s time to speak to the Maître D’ of the main restaurant.
Access to your cabin
You’ll get to your cabin. A protective mat will be laid on the bed to drop your suitcase. The television will be on at the station presenting you with the safety instructions. You’ll also find a guide to the day’s activities and other information about the services offered on board. Look where the lifejackets are located.
Evacuation exercise and safety tips
On the first day, before departure, cruise lines must conduct an evacuation exercise. The evacuation signal will be heard and you will have to go with your lifejacket to your meeting place, where you will be told the various safety instructions to follow on board if an evacuation is necessary. Information about the place of assembly, and the path to get there can be found on the door of your cabin.
Your luggage will be delivered to your cabin door in the late afternoon or evening. With several hundred passengers, this process can take a little time. This first evening on board the ship is an opportunity to discover the restaurants, bars, shows and other activities offered on board. You will also be encouraged to buy various packages of drinks, specialty restaurants or spa. On some ships, specials are offered only on the first day for drinks or spa packages. Calculate whether these plans will actually save you money. If you have a day at another port the next day, check out the list of excursions in your room or at the excursion desk. If you had booked excursions before your departure, your tickets should be waiting for you in your cabin. After this busy day, you will be happy to return to the comfort of your cabin to rest and be ready for the next day’s activities.